Alturas Field Office

Noxious Weeds


Leafy Spurge   (Euphorbia esula)     
Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae)


Leafy Spurge
Photo courtesy of the University of Idaho


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Description:  A glabrous perennial, up to 3 feet. Leaves narrow, alternate, 1 to 4 inches long. Numerous clusters of small, yellow-green flowers subtended by paired, heart-shaped, yellow-green bracts. Entire plant contains a milky juice. Reproduces by seed and vigorous creeping root system.

Habitat:  Native to Europe. Occurs in fields and pastures below 5,000 feet. Reported to cause severe irritation of the mouth and digestive tract in cattle and horses which may result in death. The extensive root system that contains large nutrient reserves makes it difficult to control.

Distribution:  The largest infestations of leafy spurge are in Butte, Scott, and Quartz valleys (Siskiyou County). Small infestations of less than one acre have been found in Lookout and Tulelake (Modoc County) and north of Milford (Lassen County). There is also a sizeable infestation in the Lost River Drainage east of Klamath Falls, Oregon (Klamath County).

Flowering Period:  June to July